A potential role of heat shock proteins and nicotinamide N-methyl transferase in predicting response to radiation in bladder cancer

Int J Cancer. 2002 Oct 10;101(5):454-60. doi: 10.1002/ijc.10631.


The use of definitive radiotherapy for treatment of invasive bladder cancer has the advantage of preserving bladder function, but tumour regression is only achieved in approximately 40-50% of patients. Knowledge of the molecular basis of sensitivity to ionizing radiation and identification of potential molecular predictors will provide useful information regarding patient response and thus help clinicians to individualize treatment. The recent application of cDNA expression array technology provides a useful tool to investigate hundreds or even thousands of genes in a single experiment. In our study, we have used the Atlas human stress cDNA array trade mark to investigate the expression profile of stress-related and DNA repair genes in a radioresistant bladder carcinoma cell line (MGH-U1) and its radiosensitive subclone (S40b). This provides an ideal situation to study genes related to radiation because the genotypes of both cell lines are basically similar and differential changes detected are likely to be related to the different radiosensitivity phenotype. Of 234 genes blotted on the array, 3 genes (Heat shock protein 90, Heat shock protein 27 and Nicotinamide N-methyl transferase) showed consistent downregulation in the radiosensitive clone in 2 independent experiments. These results were further confirmed for HSP27 and NNMT using Sybr Green I-based real-time QRT-PCR. The role of heat shock proteins (HSPs) in response to radiation remains to be determined; however, the results of our present work suggest a possible role of HSP27 in determining radiosensitivity. Our study also opens avenues for the investigation of genes, such as NNMT, which has not previously been linked to response to radiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Cell Survival / radiation effects
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA Probes
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / radiation effects
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Methyltransferases / genetics
  • Methyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Nicotinamide N-Methyltransferase
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Tumor Stem Cell Assay
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / radiotherapy*


  • Biomarkers
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA Probes
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Methyltransferases
  • NNMT protein, human
  • Nicotinamide N-Methyltransferase